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United States Congressional Briefing “Religious Freedom in India,” September 22, 2021

Thank you for inviting me to testify today. Among India’s most pressing human rights concerns today is the worsening situation with respect to religious freedom. The facts are clear: attacks against religious minorities in India, especially Muslims…
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Ending Military Use of Schools Protects Students, Teachers

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently called on India to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration, an intergovernmental political commitment to take common-sense measures to make it less likely that students, teachers, and schools are…
An Indian paramilitary soldier stands guard during a search operation in Srinagar, Kashmir, in August 2018.
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Government Increasingly Targeting Rights Groups

(New York) – Amnesty International India announced that it is halting its work in the country after the Indian government froze its bank accounts in an act of reprisal for the organization’s human rights work. Fifteen international human rights…
Amnesty International India headquarters in Bangalore, India.
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Sedition, Counterterrorism Laws Used to Silence Dissent

(New York) – The Indian authorities are increasingly bringing politically motivated cases, including under severe sedition and terrorism laws, against critics of the government, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should immediately drop…
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Discrimination Will Affect the Country’s Fight Against the Pandemic

As the number of coronavirus cases in India crossed 10,000, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on April 14 to announce an extension of the nationwide lockdown until May 3. He acknowledged the hardship, particularly for…
Men wait for a bus that will take them to a quarantine facility in the Nizamuddin area of New Delhi, India, March 31, 2020.
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Possible Excessive Use of Police Force Against Citizenship Law Protesters

(New York) – The Indian authorities should immediately order all police to abide by international standards on policing assemblies, Human Rights Watch said today. The police may have used excessive force against demonstrators across the…
A man is arrested during a protest against the new citizenship law in Gauhati, India, December 16, 2019.
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Draft Law Favors Hindus, Other Non-Muslim Immigrants

Update: On December 11, India’s upper house of parliament also passed the bill. It will now become law after the president of India gives his assent. (New York) – The Indian government’s proposed law to grant citizenship…
A protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Gauhati, India, Dec 10, 2019.
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Provide Roadmaps for Reform Ahead of Elections

(New York) – Candidates and political parties contesting India’s parliamentary elections, slated for April and May 2019, should commit to strengthening human rights protections, Human Rights Watch said today in an open letter. Human Rights Watch…
Government officers distribute postal ballot papers to a election presiding officer ahead of the country's general elections in Gauhati, India, Tuesday, March 19, 2019.
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Maoist Insurgents, Government Forces Should Safeguard Children, Education

Over the weekend, Maoist insurgents torched a tent and a generator at Sondaha primary school in India’s Bihar state, where police were planning to stay during the upcoming national elections, the United News of India reported. …
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Stop Prosecuting Dissent; Repeal Abusive Counterterrorism Law

(New York) – Indian authorities detained five activists and raided the homes of several others on August 28, 2018, for allegedly inciting caste-based violence in January, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International India said today. The government…
Police try to stop people belonging to the Dalit community as they take part in a protest during a nationwide strike called by Dalit organisations, in Chandigarh, India, April 2, 2018. REUTERS/Ajay Verma
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February 2017

Around the world, religious freedom is under a sustained attack. In the Asia-Pacific region, there are governments that restrict the freedom to choose and practice a religion, that discriminate in law and policy against certain religious groups, that…
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Classrooms Shut Throughout the State

On Sunday, arsonists set on fire a school in southern Kashmir, the latest arson attack that has targeted nearly 25 schools in India’s Jammu and Kashmir state. Anti-government protests and the government’s heavy-handed response have created an atmosphere…
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The list of activists falling victim to efforts by Indian authorities to curb criticism is growing by the day. On June 17, 2016, the government announced that Sabrang Trust – a group run by activists Teesta Setalvad and Javed…
A police van transports some of those convicted in connection with the 2002 riots in Gujarat, India on June 2, 2016.
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Response of Kenyan Security Forces Should Protect Rights

(Nairobi) – The abominable attack on Garissa University College in northeastern Kenya requires a measured response by Kenyan security forces to bring to justice those responsible and prevent further attacks. At least 147 have been confirmed dead and 80…
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They’re going to need an extra-big stage in Oslo this year. When Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai pick up their Nobel Peace Prizes, there are going to be a lot of other winners standing alongside them. About 2.2 billion, in fact. You might not be…
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Need for Consistent, Impartial Reporting

All parties implicated in a new United Nations’ report about abuses of children during armed conflict should call an immediate halt to these crimes, Human Rights Watch said today. The UN secretary-general’s annual report on children in armed conflict was…
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Armed Groups Target Schools

India should carry out the recommendations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to improve protection for children affected by armed conflict, Human Rights Watch said today. The Child Rights Committee made its recommendations to…
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Maoists, Government Forces Should Spare Schools from Fighting

Maoist insurgents and government security forces in India should respect children’s safety and right to education by keeping schools off-limits in the weeks before the April and May 2014 national elections, Human Rights Watch said today. The Maoists, also…
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Military Use Risks Students Lives, Safety, Education

(New York) – The use of schools and other education institutions for military purposes by armed forces and non-state armed groups during wartime endangers students and their education around the world, said the Global Coalition to Protect Education from…